New York City Starts Its Escape From Lockdown Hell After 80 Days

View photos(Bloomberg) — Editor’s Note: No city is more important to America’s economy than New York, and none has been hit harder by the coronavirus. “NYC Reopens” examines life in the capital of capitalism as the city takes its first halting steps toward a new normal.In late May, Jennifer Miles Lockhart marched across the Brooklyn Bridge with a throng of New Yorkers to demand equality and justice for African Americans like her. Now, with the city finally about to emerge from its pandemic lockdown, she was back in midtown Manhattan, prepping the offices of one of the biggest U.S. banks for its own reopening.She and her team were helping the bank’s skyscraper protect against the coronavirus with hand-sanitizer stations, spacing in elevators and dots on desks telling workers where they can sit. She felt angry about police violence, excited about businesses restarting, unnerved by the pandemic — yet optimistic despite it all.“Without hope, what are you going to do?” Lockhart said. “If you don’t have hope, there’s nothing to aspire to.”The stakes couldn’t be higher. After roughly 80 interminable days of lockdown — Times Square desolate and sirens wailing, and then, the protests and the curfews — the door is cracking open. This heart of global capitalism, the biggest city in the world’s biggest economy, will try to get back to business, whatever that means in these times. There is exuberance on Wall Street: The Nasdaq 100 hit a record on Friday alone. There is also rage about the murder of black Americans, agony over the loss of businesses and jobs, and lingering fear of a virus that’s killed more than 100,000 people. For many, life won’t change much at all, not yet. Hotels, offices and movie theaters remain closed. Zoom rules. Instead of leaping out of bed on June 8, New York is poised to stumble back to life.A city that has survived mass death on 9/11, explosions of racial tension and widespread economic turmoil after the financial crisis now faces all of those things at the same time. A two-week stretch with few parallels began in Minneapolis with the death of George Floyd at the hands of
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